Our mouth is like a cave with many inhabitants living inside, unseen to the naked eye. These inhabitants include viruses and bacteria, and all of them have a role to play in the function of our mouth. Some are helpful as they are healthy minerals while others are detrimental because they play a part in the process of tooth decay.
Do You Know What Causes Cavity?
You probably know that having a cavity means you have a hole in your tooth. A cavity is a result of tooth decay process over a period of time. But do you know that this process can be interrupted and reversed to avoid a cavity?
Tooth decay is the result of an infection by certain types of bacteria that use sugars or starch in food to make acids. When a tooth is frequently exposed to these acids, coupled with the lack of proper oral hygiene, it will eat away at the outer layer of the tooth, known as enamel.
However, our mouth also contains natural minerals from saliva and they function as “repairmen” which replace minerals lost during an “acid attack”. Fluoride from toothpastes also helps in restoring the minerals in teeth.
When this cycle of acid attacks is repeated, it will result in teeth losing minerals, and a white spot may appear where the mineral is lost.
How Can We Win This War to Avoid Cavities?
An adult should be the sole brusher of the child’s teeth until about 2 years of age where the child can be encouraged to participate in the tooth brushing routine.
However, they still need to be helped or supervised by an adult until about 7-8 years of age before they can do a decent job of brushing their teeth by themselves.
Children should use fluoride toothpaste as soon as the first tooth erupts. There is irrefutable evidence that fluoride toothpaste serves to prevent, control and arrest decay.
In tandem with the bacteria involvement, high frequency sugar or starch consumption and poor dietary practices such as prolonged demand milk/formula bottle and breast feeding, as well as frequent snacking in-between meals are also harmful. Therefore, to avoid this totally preventable ‘disease’, make sure to follow these 3 simple steps:
- Inculcate good eating/dietary habits in your child.
- Good home oral hygiene habits (supervised twice daily brushing with a fluoridated toothpaste and;
- Regular bi-annual professional dental visits from, at the very least, the age of one.